This month’s theme is “It’s what’s inside”. We were asked to make an appetizer and a cocktail with something inside something else edible -( food, inside of food)- like for instance -a wonton or an empanada.
I decided to make “Croque Monsieur Gougeres” and a “Roly-Poly Orange Juice Punch.”
Gougeres are lovely little eggy, cheesy bits of choux pastry- in essence a savory version of a cream puff. They can be addictive to eat and are great with a glass of wine or as a cocktail nibble.
I made the Gougeres with aged Gouda, Black Pepper and Thyme and then stuffed them with the traditional Croque Monsieur filling of Ham, cheese and a Bechamel sauce-(actually I made the Bechamel into a Mornay sauce.)
Bechamel Sauce, 3 cups
- Heat 2 cups of milk in a small saucepan with a bay leaf until hot but not boiling.
- In another heavy bottomed sauce pan melt 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Mix 4 Tablespoons of AP Flour with 3/4 teaspoon of seasoned salt and a pinch of pepper
- Add the flour mixture to the melted butter and stir over low heat until a smooth paste (roux) forms and flour cooks a bit but does not brown
- Remove the bay leaf from the hot milk and add the milk to the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
- Cook until thickened and then add 1 egg yolk that has been mixed into 2 Tablespoons of half and half cream. Whisk and cook until thick.
- Remove from heat and add 1 Tablespoon sweet Madeira or Sherry (optional)
To make a Bechamel into a Mornay sauce
- To 2 cups heated Bechamel sauce add 3 Tablespoons of sharp finely grated cheese (cheddar) and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, herb salt to taste and a dash of cayenne pepper.
For Gougeres: Preheat oven to 350F
- Melt 8 Tablespoons (one stick) of unsalted butter in a large saucepan
- Add 1-1/4 cups of nonfat milk, you can also use 1% milk or water if preferred
- 2 large pinches of salt
- Bring to a full boil and add 1Cup of AP Flour, beat hard with a wooden spoon over the heat until a smooth ball forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan and the ball starts to look a bit dry (a couple of minutes)
- Off heat- Add 4 large eggs ONE AT A TIME, incorporating each fully before adding the next.
- Add 3/4 Cup shredded cheese of choice (I used Aged Gouda)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves only minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Use a pastry bag or two spoons to drop 2″ mounds about 2″ apart on a parchment lined baking tray. Smooth the tops slightly, brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle a little grated cheese over the tops.
(you can make them bite sized or larger and just adjust the baking time if you wish)
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden, puffed and light to the touch
- Remove from oven and poke a little hole in each gougere to let any steam escape
- Serve warm or room temperature, can be reheated for 5 minutes to re-crisp.
To assemble as Croque Monsieur Gougeres, carefully remove the top and add a spoonful of sauce, a slice of ham and a bit of grated cheese. Serve warm.
Roly Poly Orange Juice Punch
- Take a ripe navel orange and roll it around the counter to release the juices on the inside. Cut a thin slice off whichever side you wish to be the bottom so the orange an sit flat now.
- cut a small plug on the “top” and seat a funnel in the opening. Add Pomegranate juice and vodka or gin if you wish. Stick a straw in the plug opening and enjoy.
Thanks for the invitation to the Party, Stephanie! I’m looking forward to everyone’s delish tidbits!